Cash for Clunkers program extending to appliances

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PHOENIX - Arizonans who missed out on the Cash for Clunkers program still might be able to snag part of the $700 billion economic stimulus.

A little while ago it was all about cars, now it's all about appliances.

The Cash for Clunker appliances program will provide $50 to $200 rebates to people who want to purchase new more energy efficient major appliances.

But what if you want to hang on to that old washing machine or refrigerator? There are ways you can make the most out of what you have.

3 On Your Side checked in with the experts at Home Depot for their top consumer tips.

They say draining a quart of water from your hot water heater every three months will make it much more efficient.

When it comes to the washing machine make sure you avoid stuffing it to the top.

Kevin Robinson from Home Depot says you should periodically get rid of any stale water

Taking a look at a dryer be sure to clean the exhaust duct at least once a year and clean the lint filter before each use.

Air filters need to be checked monthly and Robinson recommends this kind of ribbed filter for best results.

For a refrigerator he suggests cleaning those condenser coils at least every once and a while.

"You want to maintain these make sure no dust collects on this," he said.

And be sure to check the doors to make sure they are air tight.

Most major appliances should last you at least 10 years, but if you feel that you have a clunker appliance that just can't be saved, now might be the time to recycle it and cash in on this new leg of the government stimulus.

Later this year the Arizona Energy Office, which has been designated to administer the Cash for Clunker appliances in the state, will begin giving away $6.2 million in $50 to $200 rebates to purchasers of more energy-efficient major appliances.

Unlike cash for clunkers where the gas-guzzlers were scrapped, appliance buyers don't have to surrender their old inefficient units to claim the rebates.

Salt River Project is already offering rebate of up to $75 to customers who purchase more energy-efficient washing mashines and General Electric is giving gift cards for up to $500 to purchasers of two qualified appliances.

Some buyers also could claim a 30 percent federal tax credit of up to $1500 on more efficient air conditioners, heat pumps and furnaces.

That's on top of an estimated $135 in annual energy savings that could be achieved by trading in a 10-year-old washing machine.

To be eligible, appliances must carry an Energy Star rating and meet energy-efficiency standards set up the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy.?